Archive

A.S. Hamrah

20 September 2013

For two months this summer the only movies I watched were movies about the war on terror. While other moviegoers were enjoying cinematic treats like You Don’t Mess with the Zohan and The Happening, or the revival of Kobayashi’s The Human Condition, or that Norwegian movie that everybody liked so much, I was immersed in the backlog of global war-on-terror movies released since 2002. More…

16 August 2013

I don’t know if you can picture the Lipton’s tea box. Lipton is named for Sir Thomas J. Lipton, the founder of the company, who was a yachtsman and a symbol of the British Empire. There’s a tiny picture of him in the corner of the box. He’s all white, like a ghost. They made him really small and they pushed him into the corner, where he now haunts his own brand. More…

22 February 2013

“At the same time everyone unknowingly becomes accustomed to the horror, which little by little is accepted by morality, and will quickly become part of the mental landscape of modern man; who, the next time, will be able to be surprised or irritated at that which will in effect have ceased to be shocking?” More…

24 February 2012

This second edition of the N1FR, n+1‘s film review, is very late. Its lateness has nothing to do with n+1 or with any of the contributors, or with our generous sponsor IFC Films. It’s entirely my fault. More…

25 February 2011

Documentaries now do what both TV news and horror movies used to do—break real stories and scare the shit out of you. Gasland, a documentary and personal essay film about hydro-fracking, provided the year’s scariest image—water from people’s faucets bursting into flames. This one image of tap water on fire should be able to bring down Halliburton. More…

24 February 2011

N1FR: Why does it often seem as though there is no film criticism on the left in North America, even in leftist publications? Walsh: If your question excepts the World Socialist Web Site, which I hope and trust it does, I would direct you to our generally low opinion of what passes for the left, not only in North America, but globally. More…

23 August 2010

What begins as an interesting documentary about how Banksy and other famous graffiti artists make their art soon turns into a semi-mockumentary that plays into people’s desire to believe the art world is too easily manipulated and therefore something they don’t have to pay attention to; that, in fact, they would be idiots to pay any attention to it at all. More…

10 August 2009

The pathos of comedians used to be that they were funny because they wanted everyone to love them. They were motivated by their psychic wounds, their difficult personalities, their inability to tolerate the world as they found it. Gags and jokes were a way to triumph over brute physical reality and the intractability of the human race. More…

25 February 2009

Examined Life ignores and therefore refutes television techniques. It is serene yet exciting, allowing us to understand and experience the mind-states evoked by the thinkers in the movie: “anxiety is the mood par excellence of ethicity” (Ronell); philosophy emerges from “personal catastrophe lyrically expressed” (West); “we should develop a much more terrifying abstract materialism” (Zizek). More…

18 February 2009

Encounters at the End of the World gratifies on three levels: it is apocalyptic, it has cute penguins, and it stars a man with a German accent berating us because we are inadequate. It is an animal show, end-of-the-world adventure travel, and a trip to a German dentist. Herzog’s impatience with people has become palpable. More…

12 February 2009

Fairey no doubt learned that it’s a good idea to reveal some of your sources of appropriation or inspiration or whatever fair use dictates we call it. He probably also learned that it’s not a good idea to reveal them all. His borrowings from They Live are obvious and not uncommented on, but no serious critic of his has bothered to watch the Carpenter film. More…

5 December 2008

Soon enough real Christmas carols come back on. Is it the Wagnerian windows at Bergdorf Goodman that make us associate Christmas carols with Germany? Christmas music is very Nibelungenland. Christmas music is like The Marble Index by Nico. Play that constantly for a month and see how everybody feels. “Jingle Bells” is like the music from a Brecht play. More…

4 November 2008

I remember the New Yorker “Talk of the Town” when the first rumors of the Lewinsky scandal came out. One of Clinton’s aides was interviewed, not knowing whether the rumors were true or not, convinced (as was the case) that the Republicans, looking for one thing (Whitewater), had found something else (Lewinsky), but adding: “If you want to know who I blame, I blame Clinton. I blame him.” More…

26 September 2008

For a few weeks every summer I escape the humidity of Brooklyn and go to Oakland, California. I stay on a street that runs off an iron drawbridge into the town of Alameda. Alameda sits on an island in the San Francisco Bay. To me, Alameda is an enchanted place. It is everything you want America to be but never is. When I retire, I’d like to move there and run for mayor. More…

7 May 2008

I have a red-and-white Netflix envelope in my hand, sealed and ready to be returned. I must have watched the movie in it, but I can’t remember what it was. The ground rises to meet me; this appears to be one of those dreams where you experience your own demise. I crash and feel my bones break. The DVD inside the Netflix envelope shatters, but the envelope remains intact, not even torn. More…

7 April 2008

You may think it’s unfair to judge a movie based on seeing eighty minutes of a pirated DVD in a health-clinic waiting room. The banks of fluorescent lights did not create an optimum screening environment, it’s true, nor did the moans of pain, nor the old lady sitting next to me. But as I sat there, in pain myself and barely able to focus, I realized that this was the future of moviegoing. More…

13 February 2008

I didn’t see Juno it because I hated Little Miss Sunshine so much. After I saw Little Miss Sunshine I really wished I hadn’t. I refuse to make that mistake again. If that’s what a feel good movie is, I can’t stand to feel that good. It’s physically painful for me to feel that good. More…